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The Sweetwater Union High School District voted in 2011 to move forward on a university-related project. Superintendent Ed Brand told the Reader in a December 2011 interview that the district was surveying the residents to determine public support and “the threshold of the tax burden” the public is willing to bear. Brand said he called the college “Sweetwater U.”

Sweetwater U flyer

It appears Sweetwater U has arrived on the district website, which sports a picture of eager students listening to a professor. Underneath the picture it reads: “Earn College Credit at Sweetwater U through Grand Canyon University.”

The site says a student has to be “at least 15 years of age” and “may be considered with a 2.5-3.0 with a counselor recommendation.” Tuition is $52.50 per credit and the E-Book is $75.

In November 2012, the Reader reported that Sweetwater Union High School District was considering offering college-credit courses through Grand Canyon University. At the time of the article, district spokesperson Manny Rubio told the Reader the district was considering several institutions, including Grand Canyon and Devry University.

The Sweetwater district posted information on enrollment sessions (beginning January 2) with Grand Canyon University, a Christian university. The Freedom from Religion Foundation sent a letter to all of the school board members and copied the Reader on December 17, 2012. The foundation objected to the proposed agreement with Grand Canyon University.

The foundation’s letter cites examples of Grand Canyon’s educational philosophy: “…we integrate our Christian worldview into everything we do…. Our hope is to intentionally provide opportunities for you to explore who Jesus is, grow in a relationship with Him, and ultimately become a co-laborer.”

The letter of objection written by the foundation’s staff attorney, Andrew Seidel, discusses case law. Seidel suggests that “It is inappropriate for Sweetwater Union High School District to align itself with this Christian school. Offering classes that intentionally incorporate a Christian worldview, espouse the enclosed doctrinal statement, and create an opportunity for the Christian university to proselytize public school students is unconstitutional.”

In a January 17 interview, Seidel said, “This partnership has to cease…. We’re not averse to filing a lawsuit, but that would be costly for everybody…. We hope that this can be resolved amicably, and in the best interest of all concerned.”

Seidel also talked about the ways a Christian university was exclusionary for people of different faiths or nonbelievers. The foundation is currently involved in 13 suits and is about to file another one.

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eastlaker Jan. 18, 2013 @ 7:59 a.m.

Obviously this could have been predicted...Why is it that Ed Brand would think that separation of church and state is optional? Does he think that he gets to pick and choose the rules he follows?

Again, what kind of example is this for the students in the Sweetwater system?

And why would anyone do this when it costs so much more than Southwestern credits? Not to mention, will the credits from Grand Canyon transfer to schools? Chances are about a good third of the credits will not transfer, because that's just the way things go...not to mention that usually classes in the student's major MUST be taken at the college the student intends to graduate from--so the rule of thumb is, if you will be transferring, take distribution requirements and/or nothing too obscure if you want transfer credit.

Once again, Ed Brand gets the award for unclear on the concept thinking.

The big question is, what did Ed Brand get from Grand Canyon University in exchange for setting up this program? Pretty sure it is something, because Ed doesn't hold himself cheap!! HMMM. What could Grand Canyon University do for Ed....supplemental health insurance, maybe?...Maybe their dental plan is a good one? Maybe they promised to gas up his RV for free?


anniej Jan. 18, 2013 @ 8:30 a.m.

eastlaker: you have very succinctly wrapped this MAJOR concern up in a nut shell.

So now Brand is brash enough to enter into a contract that could put our district in harms way of a law suit. HELLO board members, BRAND remember Title IX? - this bunch of village idiots thought they would outskirt the law on that one too - and the rest is history - we LOST BIG TIME and now we are in the process of spending millions bringing our campuses up to par, not to mention the attorney and court fees.

But hey, law suit, what does it matter to Brand he is going to be gone in a couple of years. He is not vested in this community he lives up North, drives down here on our dime, literally each day. Wonder if he is still charging his morning cup of joe to 'Sweetwater taxpayers'? Along with his breakfast, lunch, and dinner?

Thank you John McCann for bringing a bigger version of Elmer Fudd back to drain our district dry - guess birds of a feather do flock together.

Am I torked? Oh you betcha. With each and every 'show me my money' deal that brand, John McCann, Jim Cartmill, Pearl Quinones, and Arlie Ricasa shackle our district with more and more antagonists are joining the efforts to CLEAN UP SWEETWATER.


eastlaker Jan. 18, 2013 @ 10:19 a.m.

Ok, so what if the real monetary benefit is for the law firms, as anniej has suggested? What if, in extreme cynicism Brand IS throwing business to the law firms by way of the inevitable law suit...making sure his friends continue to be well-paid at the expense of the Sweetwater taxpayer?

That Title IX law suit about playing fields...any first year law student would have said that Sweetwater's position had no merit, and that Sweetwater would end up paying--so why continue with the law suit, unless you just want to provide a way for your friends in the law firm to bleed funds from the school room??? And didn't it go on for approximately 10 YEARS...so that Sweetwater was paying for something MANY TIMES OVER when they should have just done the right thing to begin with...who listens to advice like that? Who is that dumb? Unless the people aren't dumb, just cynical, and just making sure their attorney friends always have money coming in. Makes me sick.

Ed Brand has proved time and again that he cannot make a single decision that actually BENEFITS Sweetwater and Sweetwater's students! I am beginning to feel like a colonist railing against George III whose complaints were then registered in the Declaration of Independence...

Ed Brand has acted against the best interests of Sweetwater, its students and teachers and taxpayers time and time again. He has disobeyed the law (Brown act) repeatedly. He has lied--promising to work for free for a month, then coming up with a very transparent excuse regarding why he "couldn't". In fact, we in this district have been asking politely for transparency, and it has gotten us NOWHERE.

Ed Brand, his toadys Cartmill, McCann, Ricasa and Quinones have demonstrated vast amounts of arrogance yet little to no leadership ability, let along intelligence. Oh my stars and garters, what a gaggle of self-deluded creatures.

I wonder what this deal is doing for the toadys? What is the going rate for a good toady these days? Do toadys advertise on craigslist for opportunities? Or do they just all gravitate to Ed Brand and Sweetwater? They all seem to have wanted something when contractors, etc., came to call...do they think that Grand Canyon University will hire them in some capacity when they have been thrown out of Sweetwater?

When can Sweetwater concentrate on its own schools, its own students and its own teachers? When Fast Eddy and his merry band of toadys have finally been sent up the river for good?


anniej Jan. 18, 2013 @ 9:32 a.m.

Read the fine print, offered on the attached PDF, not all units are transferable. I am sorry I could have sworn we were partnered with Southwestern, you know the college where Ricasa is employed. Is she sending a message that she does not believe Southwestern can do what a Christian based U can??????????


WTFEd Jan. 18, 2013 @ 9:41 a.m.

It is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. Oh well screw the Constitution.


scottgrover Jan. 18, 2013 @ 9:42 a.m.

As always, follow the money, and into whose pockets it goes.


johndewey Jan. 18, 2013 @ 10:16 a.m.

Has the district publicly disclosed any financial interest in this?


anniej Jan. 18, 2013 @ 11:06 a.m.

johndewey: 'district, disclosed' Sorry in the world of Sweetwater the two do NOT compute.


angrybirds Jan. 18, 2013 @ 11:11 a.m.

Doesnt this district have a thing with the community college down there? Doesnt their superintendent constantly brag about the compact for success program and SDSU? Why would they this idiotic board give him permission to with a Christian University, hello sirs separation of church and state. Whats in the water in the south bay do they ever make any good decisions?


eastlaker Jan. 18, 2013 @ 11:28 a.m.

Interesting question you pose, angrybirds: "do they ever make any good decisions?"

I believe the answer to that would be a resounding "no!".

This bunch couldn't see their way clear to a good decision if they were lead by Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, George Washington and Martin Luther King, jr., clothes-pinned together walking single-file. BECAUSE THEY WOULD STILL DIVERGE FROM WHAT IS BEST FOR THE SCHOOLS AND THE COMMUNITY AND OPT FOR WHAT THEY THINK IS BEST FOR THEMSELVES. They are selfish, oafish virtually mindless parasites of the worst order.


eastlaker Jan. 18, 2013 @ 11:34 a.m.

I was wondering when you would tiptoe by, timtim. Glad you could make it to the party.

Again, it must be tough on you to have so little support--no wonder you feel the need to denigrate those who really care about public education and the future of our community.

Your weak jabs might make you feel better, but trust me, anything you say is taken with maybe a grain of salt.

All your attacks on Bertha, the one member who repeatedly has spoken up for what is right--just demonstrate how afraid you are of the truth.

The truth is a great, great thing, bigger than any one of us, and the truth will be made known.


Jmbrickley Jan. 18, 2013 @ 5:35 p.m.

The only person I can think of who holds such a persistant grudge against Bertha Lopez is John McCann.


angrybirds Jan. 18, 2013 @ 11:54 a.m.

Can you please tell what this has to do with Bertha? This has everything to do with this district doing everything half assed. This article isnt about charges or felons its about kids having to pay crap loads of money to get college credits when they can go to SWC or Mesa. TIMTIM you are a dweeb


oskidoll Jan. 18, 2013 @ 11:30 a.m.

It appears from web-based info about GCU, that only some, not all, of the programs of study/majors are actually accredited.

EVERYTHING....EVERY COURSE...at publicly funded Southwestern College is Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and will transfer. Enrollment fees for state residents are now $46 per unit. Accreditation (or lack thereof) also affects individual eligibility for financial aid.

Do be careful out there! It seems that the Sweetwater District is not doing its students any favors by promoting an affiliation with such a sketchy institution, pesky issues with separation of church and state notwithstanding.


anniej Jan. 18, 2013 @ 11:35 a.m.

Timtim: Eddy boy? Johnny boy? Or is this Eddie boys pawn Burt?

What, the truth hurts ?

Hey, the 5 are not under indictment are they? OMG! Yes Lopez has been indicted now explain JIM CARTMILLS INDICTMENTS, funny you don't seem to be mentioning that!

If all fails Johnny boy you could always attempt to have us banned, oh but that is right you don't have a friend at The READER. What a puts you are!!!!!!

Why don't you go and bore somebody with one of your 'I saved the world', long drawn out, boring bunch of nonsense speeches that are the laughing stock of the district. Oh the jokes that have been created by those you rub elbows with at the district.


anniej Jan. 19, 2013 @ 3:10 p.m.

JmBrickley: thank you Sir, so noted!


ibtiredofthis Jan. 18, 2013 @ 11:41 a.m.

If you are concerned about this issue please take some time to watch the PBS Frontline Documentary: view frontline doc "College, Inc. here

Who is Michael Clifford? Who are the investors working with him? What are these investors up to? Is education a product one can package and sell to the most vulnerable? Did you know that student loans--unlike a mortgage or car loan or credit card loan--cannot ever be discharged, even in bankruptcy? Why are these investors so interested in contriving a means to get Sweetwater district children into debt?

I am also concerned about the separation of church and state issues. SUHSD is a public school system (even if the board members sell themselves to the highest bidder). But the danger of a school like GCU is not that it will indoctrinate rather than educate. (although that may be true) The danger is that this school is a scheme to profit from vulnerable families in a time when we're cutting funding to public education.

Please watch the documentary. Spread the word. The SUHSD admin and board cannot be allowed another way to profit from what should be public service.


Greenville Jan. 18, 2013 @ 2:33 p.m.

I checked out their web site this morning. Publicly traded on NASDAQ. Also have this interesting tab on one of their pages giving the standard indebtedness of a graduating student. I guess one would call that a disclaimer, or buyer beware? I hope that Freedom from Religion does file their lawsuit. Otherwise we must brave the waters of the Freedom of Information Act to required detailed budget reports from the district.


anniej Jan. 18, 2013 @ 11:43 a.m.

Ibtiredofthis: welcome to the conversation, thank you for the info. Hope to see you at the board meeting.


montana64 Jan. 18, 2013 @ 12:06 p.m.

One question: can we just focus on the 7-12 graders this district pledges to educate? No kinder charters, IPad martyrs, toxic dirt, stuffed shirts, from freebie meals, backroom deals &. Court appeals, bilingual bullies & campers filled fully with taxpayer purchased gasoline....


anniej Jan. 18, 2013 @ 12:07 p.m.

Timtim: Thank you for the explanation, now we understand the totally irrational bantering. Funny at the large turnouts at the board meetings they are not aligning themselves with those in your camp.

Regarding my many postings, lets just say I consider it my public duty. BUT, glad to see you are so interested.

Too bad you will never see the light of day from inside those walls. BUT, you will have company coming soon. "the gandara', Sandoval, chopra, and the rest of the gang. I hear some prisons offer date night, with any luck quinones and you may be able to take a spin around the dance floor.


anniej Jan. 18, 2013 @ 12:53 p.m.

Timtim: No I am talking about the hundreds at southwest and hilltop. Ok community we need an idea that will get us NATIONAL ATTENTION. We will take our district back


eastlaker Jan. 18, 2013 @ 12:26 p.m.

What, are you worried about something? Bad moon rising?


angrybirds Jan. 18, 2013 @ 12:35 p.m.

Can you please tell what this has to do with Bertha? This has everything to do with this district doing everything half assed. This article isnt about charges or felons its about kids having to pay crap loads of money to get college credits when they can go to SWC or Mesa. TIMTIM you are a dweeb


anniej Jan. 18, 2013 @ 12:50 p.m.

timtim: It appears you just outed yourself. Board docs shows no indication of what you speak - which means you are either McCann or brand. Moving the meetingS you say?

What brand doesn't want the community to be able to attend? What is he trying to hide? What about Ricasa and Lopez, both have day time jobs? What about the student representative, she takes Ap courses and can not miss school.

Thank you for giving us more resolve, looks like we are making you all sweat....... The legal noose is tightening, more indictments?, the minnow and whale are still swimming around in the sea of Sweetwater corruption. More to come? Oh yes


anniej Jan. 18, 2013 @ 12:58 p.m.

timtim: Seems my predictions have all come to pass so far. I can tell you are worried, I can smell the fear.


eastlaker Jan. 18, 2013 @ 1:05 p.m.

You are whistling in the dark, past the graveyard where Brand and the majority Sweetwater board have attempted to bury all its mistakes...but lo! What do we hear?

It is not the lark, but the trudge of the looming, gathering multiplicity of their bad decisions being visited upon the Sweetwater majority board and Brand, like the spectors and wraiths they are--the lies, the vast web of corruption that will swallow up all who have contributed thereto--all are returning to their sources, their birthplaces, like salmon, their vestigial memory brings them back and the truth will be known.


eastlaker Jan. 18, 2013 @ 1:31 p.m.

That I wouldn't know.

Could be the stuff of your dreams, though.


eastlaker Jan. 18, 2013 @ 1:07 p.m.

Your lies will end. The truth will remain.


anniej Jan. 18, 2013 @ 1:17 p.m.

Timtim to earth, so are YOU !!!!!!!!!!


eastlaker Jan. 18, 2013 @ 1:54 p.m.

Ahhhhhhh, I see what you're doing--you are trying to attack yet another individual of high principle who is doing a good job.

That must really bother you, when people who are public servants are actually doing a good job.

I wonder why.


Ruth1940 Jan. 18, 2013 @ 1:13 p.m.

Just what is this Christian worldview? One that is less sympathetic than atheists' worldview?


Atheists More Motivated by Compassion than the Faithful


anniej Jan. 18, 2013 @ 2:21 p.m.

ALL: so lets think about this for a minute, while tim tim is probably mccann, he is not at the bottom of changing the board meetings start time, mccann has no power. other than the power of the mouth.

no, who could want to keep us away, why by golly, let us focus on JIM CARTMILL and ED BRAND. CARTMILL was just indicted and BRAND was just embarrassed in the exposure of his extravagant usage of the Districts credit card when he was here before. CARTMILL does not want to sit up there and take the heat from the tax paying community and so BRAND comes up with the idea. we all remember the old westerns when the corrupt town officials bring in a hired gun to do their bidding. well that is what BRAND is, no better than a hired gun.


now here is the interesting part board bylaws state that meetings are to be held at 6:30, so does this mean that JIM CARTMILL, ED BRAND, ARLIE RICASA, AND PEARL QUINONES ARE ATTEMPTING to BREAK THE LAW????????????



oskidoll Jan. 18, 2013 @ 2:29 p.m.

Again, I am wondering if this idiotic proposal of Brand's isn't meant to distract from other sleight-of-hand goings on? Brand is quite good at arousing heated discussion about this 'n that 'n other so-called initiatives (you name 'em). GCU is such an absurd proposal on its face that I can't really believe Brand thinks will get him anything but a smokescreen -- which may be exactly the point.

Then we have poor, deranged Timtim, who may on assignment to flame the distraction.

Let's make sure we follow the pea in the shell in the multiple shell games going on. Four-fifths of the board, as well as other major players, have been indicted on criminal charges, including extortion. THAT is the core message we need to focus on. The other stuff may be collateral damage.


anniej Jan. 18, 2013 @ 3:01 p.m.



Look what national attention did to help straighten out Bell Ca.


Susan Luzzaro Jan. 18, 2013 @ 4:04 p.m.

ibtiredofthis and greenville, thank you for extending the discussion. I hope to have the time and opportunity to expand on Grand Canyon University. I think looking at connections with this for-profit university and student graduation rate is useful. Revisiting the discussion of accreditation would be in order as well.


Jmbrickley Jan. 18, 2013 @ 5:46 p.m.

"The site says a student has to be “at least 15 years of age” and “may be considered with a 2.5-3.0 with a counselor recommendation.” Tuition is $52.50 per credit and the E-Book is $75."

2.5 GPA! Wow! C+ average. Looks like Grand Canyon will take just about anybody who registers a pulse. Of course, a "local" counselor will make the final "wink, wink" decision. Looks like "For Profit" education is all this is about, and anyone who says differently is blowing smoke.

It's all about the money! And, if money is what it's all about, you can bet that Edward M. Brand is somewhere close by.


joepublic Jan. 18, 2013 @ 8:27 p.m.

Based on the last couple of articles and comments, provocation seems to be the current strategy in Sweetwater.


joepublic Jan. 18, 2013 @ 8:44 p.m.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Traditionally, an agent provocateur (plural: agents provocateurs, French for "inciting agent(s)") is an agent employed by the police or other entity to act undercover to entice or provoke another person to commit an illegal act. More generally, the term may refer to a person or group that seeks to discredit or harm another by provoking them to commit a wrong or rash action.


outsider Jan. 19, 2013 @ 9:44 a.m.

Why does SUHSD feel the need to provide their students with special access to colleges (Compact for Success)? Do they feel that their students can not compete with the rest of the students in the nation? Isn't this an inherent form of prejudice? After reading all the comments, there is a clear division I see. One group (the majority) is commenting on the dubious actions of adults and then there is timtim who just wants to make petty insults and blame the teachers' union (tired argument) for what I do not know.
Unfortunately for the students of the district the powers at be are mired in a nepotistic almost colonial mentality. Get rid of them all, I say, including much of the administration at the school sites and in the district office. And in the future, hire people of quality; not based on who they know, who they help get elected, or with whom they have relations.


Visduh Jan. 19, 2013 @ 10:44 a.m.

You've asked a number of questions that don't have easy answers. That district has had its idiosyncrasies for a long time. There was a long-running family dynasty there, that of the Rindone family, one of whom was actually supe back in the 90's. (The others, from more than one generation, seemed to think that working in district administration was a really good deal for them.) There were other sacred cows. Several undoubtedly remain in place. So to make big changes by getting an entire new board will still not be a foregone conclusion. Tenure laws may prevent outright removal of some of the administrators, because if they lose those positions they can go back to the classroom. Shudder! The matter of the identity of "timtim" isn't really all that crucial. If it is, as anniej strongly suggests, McCann, he stoops when he comments. (The illiteracy displayed is appalling.) But it really doesn't matter. And, yes, there are folks in nearly all the districts in the county who blame all the ills of the schools on the teachers unions. The news media help that along by always combining the word "powerful" with "teachers union." Just another journalistic cliche. If you ever were a teacher and needed a little help from the union, you quickly found out how powerLESS it really was.


anniej Jan. 19, 2013 @ 3:07 p.m.

Outsider: way back when when the Compact was first thought of it was backed by Brand and a Mr. Ellis, a very close friend of Brands. Ellis, who served time in prison for the manufacturing of meth. Money that was promised to certain student who met the criteria, all of a sudden was not there. Last year Brand brought Ellis back in his Funds for Education scheme. However tax paying citizens like Perno and Payne, who had been asked to be part of the committee, soon began to question the ethics of what they were seeing. It was alleged to be another example of Pay to Play, you give to my Foundation and you will receive the contract.

Old news yes, however what is new news is this tidbit - many of the non profits that are aligned with the District are now under review and more questions than ever have surfaced.

There are many hidden truths to this district, I have no doubt this issue may well end up putting this district, and those involved, in the cross hairs of those that will blow this thing wide open.


Woodchuck Jan. 19, 2013 @ 10:45 a.m.

Reader readers, I have always felt that our magazine was a good place to share ideas with the lofty goal of working toward a better world. I am disappointed that the conversation has become like a forum for sniping, immature adults. On the topic at hand and from a secular humanist standpoint, Sweetwater Union High School District would be making a colossal mistake if they vote to continue relations with a christian college. I would be thrilled to contribute to any fund or movement to stop this insanity.


anniej Jan. 19, 2013 @ 2:52 p.m.

Woodchuck: you are right, and I will take responsibility for being immature. These are important issues and I need to stay focused on what is important - the students, the employees and our hard earned tax dollars.

Thank You for reminding me of my goal, to help bring about change and return our district to the reputation it once had.


Visduh Jan. 19, 2013 @ 6:22 p.m.

Did I make my point? This is timtim's best effort, and if falls so short. Sigh.


erupting Jan. 19, 2013 @ 11:09 a.m.

Thanks, Charles Manson for letting us know about the time of the board mtg. If it is true we know anniej has been right about who you are. But it really wasn't much of a secret. And no one really cares. I for one will be calling on Mon.to see if you are lying. Maybe after the reader article Brand is worried about what will be said about is generosity to himself on our dime. But then again maybe our new board president is not wanting to face the public because he is embarrassed good religious man that he is. Just ask Gandara he asked Cartmill to say the prayer at the shower for Gandara's daughter while fleecing the contractors who attended. The same contractors who donated to Cartmill's election campaign after he and Tim Tim had already won the election. Tim Tim do you and Cartmill remember Alvey I do.


erupting Jan. 19, 2013 @ 2:42 p.m.

No,tim tim my name is Fran Brinkman and I will not miss you even after you are really gone. Poor, poor John. Did Cartmill tell you to stop because you let the cutout of the bag? Bad riddance.


anniej Jan. 19, 2013 @ 2:43 p.m.

ALL : Cartmill, could timtim really be Cartmill? Up until now while the campaign donations have raised much suspicion Cartmill has, at least, not been perceived as devious. Having said that, he, Cartmill, is now the board president and NO changes can be made WITHOUT his blessing. Many are waiting to see if timtim's announcement rings true - if fact, it will serve as a message that Cartmill is unwilling to face the voters and that perhaps there is something to those indictments. While sitting up there facing the community would, no doubt, be tough - the publicity that would paint him as trying to hide from the voters, a real blow to his reputation.

AT LEAST MS. QUINONES, as president, WAS VALIANT ENOUGH TO FACE THE COMMUNITY! Ricasa as well, they did not run and hide - and now Brand is looking for Cartmill to be sheltered from the very questions that were asked of these two ladies.

This is no doubt a Brand plan, lets see if Cartmill is strong enough to face us as Quinones and Ricasa did. BRAND IS IN FACT LOOKING TO HIDE HIMSELF, the expense reports, does he think that is over, or that time will erase the truth? That would be a serious NO - BRAND WILL BE EXPOSED for the imposter he is!


erupting Jan. 19, 2013 @ 3:56 p.m.

Anniej, do you remember the movie The Three Faces of Eve? Sounds like Tim Tim doesn't it? McCann,Cartmill,Brand or could it be the fourth face of Grossman. The comments reflect the tenor of his disgusting book? But that couldn't be because how would he have district information. Oh! Silly me.


erupting Jan. 19, 2013 @ 4:41 p.m.

Tim Tim I thought you were gone. But it only shows that I win the ten dollar bet because I knew that I could get you to blog again. I have no apologies about who I am, but you should.


outsider Jan. 19, 2013 @ 4:54 p.m.

wow if timtim is indeed a product of the sweetwater education system they have another thing to be embarrassed about.


Susan Luzzaro Jan. 19, 2013 @ 7:57 p.m.

On TopIc: It is interesting to note that the first Sweetwater U/Grand Canyon University class will be Communications and the Media.

It might be time to revisit the Reader story titled "Sweetwater Union HS District Supe Ed Brand Addresses Problems with U-T coverage." In 2011 Brand called in editors and writers from the UT to tell them how they should cover stories. The audio recording was posted on the Sweetwater website but after the Reader article came out, the audio was taken down. Below is an excerpt from the article:

Sweetwater continues to make headlines even though former superintendent Jesus Gandara is gone. Brand gave the assembled news team examples of what he perceives as biased coverage of recent incidents. Each lesson ended with: “Now, in my mind the story should have been about…”


Visduh Jan. 19, 2013 @ 10:57 p.m.

That was a most bizarre episode in that after Brand summoned the paper's reporters and editors into his domain, he lectured them on how they were not properly reporting news. I'm hard pressed to think of anyone in the county who ever tried that. The U-T printed the results of that "interview", but as I recall didn't actually comment on them. They should have been outraged, but maybe his chutzpah just blew them away.

A bit reminiscent of the tactics of the gone-but-not-forgotten former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld during the early stages of the Iraq war. He would "take" questions from reporters, but then would restate them and then answer them. He claimed that was to make the questions more incisive and clear, but in more than one instance, totally altered the question, ducked it, and then gave a "talking point" answer. BTW, Rummy was one of the most unpopular cabinet members in recent history, and not just a few people give him the dubious credit for the capture of Congress by the Dems in 2006. Shortly after that election, Bushie fired Rummy. Will a similar fate accrue to Brand? We can only hope.


anniej Jan. 19, 2013 @ 8:29 p.m.

Susan: it is a dangerous , slippery road one travels when attempting to manipulate the facts. The community is well versed on brands view of how things should be. Let us not forget in brands mind:

  • the apparent over indulgence of profiting from the district card was oky dorky
  • the program improvement list for district schools includes nearly all campuses
  • while he is failing to educate 7 -12th graders, he then decides to start an elementary charter school, AND gives them IPADS??????
  • he enters into a contract with a Christian based university that has been labeled with many controversies
  • he resigns from the board and fails to advise the taxpayers
  • while expecting district ee's to take furlough days he narrated his own contract which is repulsively rich
  • he directs the mello Roos communities by opening up all borders with NO board approval
  • he gifts the 7th graders with IPADS with no sound documentation that shows their benefit
  • he allegedly has chairs taken out of the board room to limit the crowd of taxpayers wanting to speak
  • he borrows from prop o and now mello Roos
  • he refuses to allow the communities request for campaign contributions limits and term limits to be placed on the agenda
  • while decreasing teaching, counseling and other staff hires " friends "
  • now when questions arise regarding past financial decisions places blame on past CFO

MY FINGERS ARE TIRED, even though there is so much more. But please feel free to add to the list.


dbdriver Jan. 19, 2013 @ 9:07 p.m.

Anniej, lets not forget the whole lying to the community about not knowing how the huge amount of dirt got to Southwest High, then the huge cost of removing it from the campus. And while the dirt was on site, the field was unusable, so various teams had to be bussed to other schools for their events.


anniej Jan. 19, 2013 @ 10:22 p.m.

Dbdriver: ah yes the infamous dirt! And let us not forget the outrageous amount of money we spent to have it hauled to ------, even though the district allegedly had, in their possession, an estimate for considerable less.


dbdriver Jan. 20, 2013 @ 7:24 a.m.

I believe that outrageous amount was for the hauling and disposal of "toxic" dirt (I might be incorrect there), but the district had the dirt tested (over and over) and determined that it (finally) wasn't toxic. At that point, why spend to remove?


Susan Luzzaro Jan. 19, 2013 @ 9:26 p.m.

I did want to say thank you also to Visduh and Woodchuck for continuing to broaden the discussion.

Visduh, you bring up the long history of Sweetwater. I have been working back through archives...a lot of people seem to have ridden on the back of this district. I think past actions are playing out before us.


Visduh Jan. 21, 2013 @ 8:58 a.m.

I deserve no thanks, Susan. It is you whom we all must thank for keeping this ongoing and widening scandal in front of the Reader audience. While I don't know how much attention the Star News has paid to these events, I do know that the UT isn't doing any more digging and mentions them only when there is a new round of indictments. This should be big news all round the county, not just in the southern reaches, and something that other officials decry. But then Mayor Bob congratulated Pearl and spoke glowingly of her. Read and weep.


Susan Luzzaro Jan. 19, 2013 @ 9:39 p.m.

annie j , It's interesting that you are making a list. You've called quite a few things accurately in the past. I'm wondering if you know if it's true that the next board meeting will be changed to afternoon. Aside from this blog, the time change has been bandied about on several twitter accounts. While the Chula Vista city council moved their meetings to an earlier time, the question went before the whole council and the community had time to respond. An earlier start time, however, precludes working people from participating.


anniej Jan. 19, 2013 @ 10:12 p.m.

Susan: At this point what i know is that a certain person, on this very board alerted the comunity to the devious plan. i am hearing the district is claiming that the time has not been determined, yet "sources" who are in fear of their jobs are attesting to the plot. School districts answer to parents, many who work. What possible reason could there be to change the monthly board meeting unless it is meant to silence the very taxpayers who fund this district. While I have taken exception with Pearl Quinones and Arlie Ricasa, they did sit there and listen to the questions and comments of the community. The majority of the time those comments were less than kind. I find it incredulous that Brand and Cartmill would believe that they are above public comment. Brand spent the money did he not? So let us ask him to answer to us HOW COULD HE DO THIS TO THE CHILDREN ? Cartmill has been indicted, should he not then answer to the same parents that Quinones and Ricasa did ? Lopez too has been indicted, I anxiously await her comment regarding the time change of the board meeting. Many in the community are in denial that Cartmill would be part of the devious plan to silence public comment, he is after all the President of the board, and nothing will happen without his blessing. HIS DECISION WILL SPEAK VOLUMES!!!!

NONPROFITS, as eluded to above - yet another questionable area that is in the cross hairs of those who have authority. PAST and present non profits. This issue should not be confused with the current indictments, this is a separate, yet, part of alleged corruption that has taken over the district.

Above I took responsibility for childish comments on this blog. I apologize, the topics you have written about are far too important to be lost in childish banter - I meant no disrespect to the seriousness of the issues or to The READER or its readers.


Fred Williams Jan. 19, 2013 @ 11:05 p.m.

Amazing. This district is in need of a complete change of administration.

This is solely a money making move, charging higher fees than the local community college for substandard "Christian" education.

What is religious fanatic and anti-education political prostitute McCann's role in this fiasco?


anniej Jan. 20, 2013 @ 10:04 a.m.

Fred_Williams: no doubt somewhere in Brands plan there is a "it's for the kids" speech. No doubt there is/was a plan to pretend that any profit would go into a non profit foundation that would be used for scholarships. The only problem with Sweetwaters "non profits" for some strange reason the awardees seem to be invisible for the most part. Most foundations offer those who contribute a complete accounting, but not Sweetwater, they have come up with "it's confidential" - really? Other Foundations don't seem to have a problem with acknowledging and celebrating their recipients. Oh, but wait there was the Foundation that Alvey played a key role in - and we are so sure all of those contributions were accounted for aren't we?

The IRS, how do they respond to 'its confidential'?


bvagency Jan. 20, 2013 @ 10:33 a.m.

To all the rumors out there that the start time has been changed, i have emailed the board president and will call him tomorrow. Lets try to end the rumor and see what he says. Anniej had posted previously that board policy dictates start time, and as usual she is correct. BB 9320b states start time is 6:30pm. Of course we all know how well this district follows their own board policies!!


suhsdteacher Jan. 20, 2013 @ 2:41 p.m.

Timtim=McCann. No doubt about it. Plenty of evidence in past irrational, illogical behavior and speech. Nut job! Regarding start time: wouldn't surprise me, in the grand scheme of things--what's another broken law for these bottom feeders?


outsider Jan. 20, 2013 @ 8:39 p.m.

or the guy that lost the election to Bertha Lopez he seems a little bitter


fireflycobra Jan. 20, 2013 @ 11:08 p.m.

Timtim-Read my post under " Serious supporters of Sweetwater trustee Pearl Quiñones " about the SEA. Let me know if you agree.


outsider Jan. 20, 2013 @ 11:29 p.m.

The courts will decide wether the teacher in question is guilty, he has not been charged so I think I would be careful about possible libelous statements. The courts will also decide wether our illustrious board is guilty of a criminal acts. This article was about the actions of our current superintendent, but you seem determine to somehow indict the union which really has no authority over any of these cases. Not once have I heard a statement from you in support of the students, unlike the supporters at the last hearing you should really take the high road and offer some intelligent insight to how this deal is to benefit the students, otherwise you really are not helping.


outsider Jan. 21, 2013 @ 7:07 a.m.

Read my statement and the article(or find someone to help you) I am dealing with it fine.


cvres Jan. 21, 2013 @ 7:14 a.m.

In my opinion Sweetwater has enough legal issues on its hands without risking a lawsuit on separation of church and state. I don't even think it sets a good example to the students for the district to flaunt the constitution.


bvagency Jan. 21, 2013 @ 12:32 p.m.

Timtim, I'm neither a union member, teacher, administrator, Bertha, John, Jim, Arlie or Pearl supporter. Just a parent of children in the district and a member of this community who has lived here my entire life and gone to the district schools. There are many issues at this district, too many to discuss here. But, you have to admit that this districts leadership and trustees have been an embarrasment to this community and students. 4 of 5 trustees indicted for criminal actions, prior Supt indicted for the same, current Supt making questionable decisions for non 7-12 items, the list goes on and on. Although the union is not without its faults, the negative publicity and embarrasing actions and decisions are on the part of our board and district leadership. Lets start with correcting that. Once that is in place, we can turn our attention to the Union and any negative impacts they may be having on our schools, children and community.


fireflycobra Jan. 21, 2013 @ 4:17 p.m.


The SEA is not helping the publicity, only making this more negative. The District Attorney is looking into this matter. There are also plenty of respectful citizens of communities of the South Bay area that have a right to voice their opinion and concern. You are probably one of them, and yes, you definitely have that right, especially since you have children that attend the district.

Bvagency and timtim, if you took a poll of the teachers and administrators who do the most work at the biggest overachieving schools in the district, using factors which include API scores compared to income in the area, you will find that the majority of them want Alex and his group to leave SEA, based on the statements in my first post.


Jmbrickley Jan. 22, 2013 @ 2:32 a.m.

Until such a poll is taken, your comment is without merit. The only measurable yardstick at this time is the past election where Alex Anguiano garnered the majority support of the SEA.


anniej Jan. 21, 2013 @ 5:20 p.m.

Firefly: the alleged corruption is a South Bay issue. I, for one, would question a representative of the teachers who did not speak up. While I do not know Mr. Anguiano personally I have observed him for the past several years stand and speak on behalf of the students and teachers. In my opinion, his efforts and his words are/were that of a president who took his job seriously. Interesting that you attempt to insinuate that he is not viewed favorably by those he represents. Those educators who are brave enough to not only attend board meetings but speak against the alleged corruption have displayed and voiced much admiration for Anguiano.

Fireflycobra, interesting "handle". - almost sounds like a name John McCann DREAMT he would be called if only he had been born John Wayne instead of John McCann.

In closing there is a union president who did/ does back Ms. Quinones, and it is not Mr. Anguiano - I base this on Mr. Anguiano's board meeting comments which can be verified by on line board audio.


outsider Jan. 21, 2013 @ 7:22 p.m.

Again the article is not about the union or it's actions, keep trying to triangulate all you want. Brand is accountable for his actions. And good for the union and other people for calling out the actions of the board.


justateacher Jan. 21, 2013 @ 8:22 p.m.

Funny how Fireflycobra (delgado or beale . . . hmmm tough call) is so convinced that the majority of teachers want Alex and leadership gone and yet they are voted in repeatedly for new terms by a large margin. The way FireFlyCobra throws around his/her all knowing knowledge it has to be one of the two PQ mafia members who believe everyone in the south bay voted for Pearl. And where exactly are these overachieving schools where they compare API scores to factors related to income. You truly do pull random crap out of nowhere! I'm sorry your bitter and haven't gotten your way as you've been bumped from school to school but you really are clueless and with your lack of knowledge you really shouldn't be speaking for the "majority of SEA members".


anniej Jan. 21, 2013 @ 9 p.m.

Justateacher - Thank You for sharing your professional thoughts about the president of the union. No doubt Brand and his minions will do all that is possible to deflect what is at the core of the article. Brand messed up big time. Now we taxpayers are going to be funding a legal defense that wil tie the issue up in court for a very long time - but hey, what is it to him - this is not his community. It is however Cartmills, Mccanns, Ricasas, Quinones's, and Lopez's community and we will be looking to them to put an end to this contract. Question is, can they? Or has Brand done us in financially?

Allegedly district spokesperson has confirmed meeting has been changed and will be changed hence forth.

One would think that Cartmill would want all district business to truly be transparent - is he that afraid to face the voters - what does the DA know about Cartmill that we don't? So many people who were adamant that he would never allow the meeting time to be changed. Guess they will now have to believe that he is not the man they thought he was. Hopefully he will reconsider and tell Brand NO!


mngcornaglia Jan. 22, 2013 @ 7:02 a.m.

Grand Canyon University is buying a lot of ad time on KPRI 102.1 where they mention their "resort style pool".

From their web site: "The pool on the GCU campus is the perfect place for students to unwind from their studies. Students can enjoy swimming in the heated Olympic size pool, relaxing in one of the two hot tubs, sunbathing on the chaise lounge chairs or hanging out under the resort style cabanas. Located in the heart of the campus, the pool is adjacent to the Canyon Café, including an outdoor patio where students can purchase refreshments."




anniej Jan. 22, 2013 @ 9:58 a.m.

mngcornalgi: with all due respect, we are not purchasing a home here with our tax dollars - we are speaking of a law suit that will be filed due to the LAW- separation of church and state. I can only imagine the total cost of the legal representation and court costs. We are speaking of units that will not be accepted by other educational institutions like San Diego State.

Additionally we are speaking of 15 year olds here, are they going to be offering free bus transportation for those relaxing dips in the pool?

I would encourage all to research this university on line, many issues that raise gat concern.

What about the relationships we have with Southwestern/San Diego State? Could it be the fact that Brand was not getting a cut of that action led jim to look elsewhere?

Hopefully you pool post was an attempt at interjecting humor.


Visduh Jan. 22, 2013 @ 6:51 a.m.

annie, I think that was an attempt at satire/humor. One can only wonder what those "refreshments" available poolside include.


anniej Jan. 22, 2013 @ 2:53 p.m.

Visduh - that makes me feel better.

You know I am beginning to wonder if Brand dreams up these schemes in at attempt to sell himself as "needed". If the board members sat back and thought about it, Brand has been a one man fire starter - think about the many controversies that have plagued these board members other than the indictments. ALL BRAND DECISIONS! He starts the fires of controversy and then sells himself as their protector. Now, even Cartmill is being hood winked. One would think that McCann, with his city council experience, would have identified and exposed Brand as the problem. McCann has been given two opportunities to be a strong leader - question is why is he not taking advantage and leading the efforts for transparency and reform. Ok, so bringing Brand back was a mistake - but here is the thing, when you know better, you do better - or at least that is what is SUPPOSE TO OCCUR.


gobigal Jan. 22, 2013 @ 4:13 p.m.

Everyone should go to the Parent Meeting and address the concerns directly.

Parent / Student Information Meeting Jan. 24, 2013 – 6 p.m. Location: Sweetwater Professional Development Center 680 L St. Suite C Chula Vista, CA 91911

My money is on Tim-Tim being Pearl's vocal supporter Jimmy.


WTFEd Jan. 22, 2013 @ 10:14 p.m.

Where the hell is our beloved Union Tribune and yes the Voice of San Diego recently on this corrupt administration....this Sweetwater Administration is symbolic of why we need the Social Media and "alternative" media like the Reader to get the word out. If it was not for Susan Luzarro what would we do to keep this in the limelight? Wake up UT..pry yourself away from worring about how Obama will bring down Western Civilization and pay attention to your local community and educating students.


mngcornaglia Jan. 22, 2013 @ 10:18 p.m.

the "pool post" was in regard to never hearing of this school before last month... now i realize i've have suddenly also seen a number of their commercials on channel fox 5 TV... seems as though they are flushing ad money to establish a familiar presence here... through their own advertizing, GCU looks like a poor choice to consider over the many available local options...


Susan Luzzaro Jan. 22, 2013 @ 10:55 p.m.

mngcornaglia, you're right. the GCU ads at first were almost subliminal...now they are "a familiar presence." Could it be coincidence?


Susan Luzzaro Jan. 22, 2013 @ 11 p.m.

Thanks WTFed. You're right, there's news enough for everyone to report on. I think the coming weeks will be filled with material...lots of little pots boiling.


anniej Jan. 23, 2013 @ 9:58 a.m.

Meeting time is the same!!!!!! Just received a call from the honorable Mayor Cox's office.



dbdriver Jan. 23, 2013 @ 11:13 a.m.

I don't see the meeting posted on the Board's website yet. What day is the meeting being held on? It wouldn't happen to be, oh, say Thursday? Around the time the parent meeting for this college would be taking place?


anniej Jan. 23, 2013 @ 1:33 p.m.

No, I believe the meeting will be Monday evening.

Regarding the meeting tomorrow evening, will be interesting to see how many turn out. Brand will do what Brand does, stifle/micro manage public comment.


justateacher Jan. 23, 2013 @ 6:44 p.m.

SUHSD does not post meeting times/dates/agendas until after 5 pm, the Friday before the meeting


dbdriver Jan. 24, 2013 @ 9:56 a.m.

One of my child's teachers received an email regarding this. Allegedly, at the upcoming board meeting, a request to change the times for future meetings will be voted on. We shall see.


anniej Jan. 23, 2013 @ 10:38 a.m.

Following up on the comment above it is important for us to review the many controversies that have plagued this district since Brand came back. I am not going to list them as we are all more than familiar with them.

WHY are the board members not realizing that Brand himself is at the center of the bad press. It is HIS decisions who continually fan the flames of outrage. We did not elect Brand we elected the 5 of them. Yet he, Brand, has no focus on the task at hand "EDUCATING OUR STUDENTS". He is, month after month, putting new agenda items up that out our board members are forced to answer to. Why do they not see this?

We look to these elected officials to take their power back, deliver the message to Brand - STOP YOUR DEAL MAKING - this is an educational institution NOT A BANK!!!!!! ( we all have read about Brands alleged failed bank, and the many people who allegedly lost their life's savings). So, is this a rerun of that endeavor? Is brand taking advantage of the indictments? Using their situations to wheel and deal? The last thing our board members need is more controversy, we heralded their decision to send 'the gandara' packing - even though we were furious about the suitcase of money (retirement) they handed him on the way out.

Board members you want to STOP the bad press - then

STOP BRAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do yourselves a favor at least consider my words, just think about them, is it possible, just possible that I am right and YOU ARE BEING TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF by a person who really does not care about you.


eastlaker Jan. 23, 2013 @ 2:18 p.m.

One wonders what it would take to break the strangle-hold that Brand has on the board--or has the majority all willingly subjugated themselves for reasons unknown?

We do know that some of the board members lack strong critical-thinking skills. Some are simply more comfortable doing exactly what they are told--but that is not what they were elected to do. They need to be able to think for themselves, assess pros and cons of arguments and come to a reasonable conclusion. They should be 'above reproach' when it comes to deciding contracts. They should not use the district's funds as gifts to divvy out, or means of personal enrichment.

There is supposed to be an underlying understanding that they exist as board members to ensure that the children of this district have a future that is on a par with any other child from any other district--they should not be grasping and clawing for perks and "rewards".

But, we all know that. The trouble is, they don't seem to know that. Brand, their fearless leader, has less integrity than--oh, what--sorry, I can't even come up with a comparison, as I don't think there is anyone with less integrity.

We need this fiasco of a board and Brand to relinquish their positions as they are not effective, not trusted, not getting things done and not wanted.


oskidoll Jan. 24, 2013 @ 12:23 p.m.

I must say that I find it quite odd that the time of an upcoming meeting of a public agency is such a secret! Further, I find it stranger yet that it took a call to the Mayor's Office (an entirely separate public agency) to get an answer.

Try calling the ceo's office of any other district and ask the date and time (even location) of the next regular meeting for that juristiction and you will get a straight answer.

It is one of those 'public's right to know' bits of info that for some reason the folks at Sweetwater think is confidential until the actual agenda is posted.

The reason the Brown Act exists is to insure that "the public's business is done in public". Go figure!


anniej Jan. 24, 2013 @ 5:12 p.m.

Oskidoll: Yes, this is the publics business and our tax dollars are being used - so why should we not be able to attend AFTER WORK to address issues?

Getting the district business done, REALLY?????? If Brand was that concerned he would not have MANDATED board meetings end at 10. Oh but that is right he has to drive home and does not want to be inconvenienced - he lives in north county and yes it is a long haul. Yet I bet he doesn't mind making that long haul to cash the big check we give him every month.

We are sorry that this board finds it inconvenient to meet with the parents and tax payers ONCE A MONTH, but hey you knew the bylaws when you decided to run. If it is too much to ask step down.


confuzled Jan. 24, 2013 @ 1:16 p.m.

So who is making Sweetwater students go to Grand Canyon University? Are you all afraid of giving students choices, or do you just like to see yourself in print while griping endlessly?

If Sweetwater is in as bad a shape as I'd believe reading y'all, I think you have bigger fish to fry.


gobigal Jan. 24, 2013 @ 3:56 p.m.

No one is making students go to Grand Canyon. But by labeling it "Sweetwater University" the district is lending its name and credibility to an organization that proclaims openly that:

"A uniquely important element of the GCU mission statement is the defining attribute of its Christian heritage. The GCU community defines its culture by the way its members reflect a committed relationship with Christ and creates the GCU experience in a manner that reflects His teachings to support students and graduates through a successful life journey."

This is inappropriate for a public entity to support.

Add to this that CGU has been sued by the United States Government as recently as 2009 for misusing financial aid money.

Additionally many Sweetwater students are the first in their families to go to college. They trust our district to guide them to sound educational choices such as Ed Brand's baby the "Compact for Success" - selling them on a for-profit college with many programs that are not accredited is inappropriate.

You claim we teachers are greedy and don't care about the kids. I care deeply for the kids and this is not what is best for them. We all have an obligation and a right to express this to the district and community.


bvagency Jan. 24, 2013 @ 4:11 p.m.

Confuzled, i have 2 students in the district, with a third to follow. I have no desire to limit choices for my children. However, i do have a problem with a public school partnering with a for profit Christian school that may not have all its accreditations, and whose credits may not all transfer to other universities. On top of that, it costs more to take credits at this school. So why the partnership? Who is benefitting from this arrangement? It likely is not the students for the aforementioned reasons.

Also, when i read the board resolution of Nov 2011 directing district staff to "proceed with the establishment of Sweetwater U", i do not believe partnering with this school satisfies this resolution.

So the question is, who benefits from this arrangement, and where did this school come from? Why not local schools that are more affordable with full accredidation? And why the rush? Why no input from stakeholders like the public, teachers, parents and students to fully develop this Sweetwater U idea? What are the specifics of this partnership?

It appears this was a rushed decision without a thorough review or plan. Sound familiar? Ipads, pre K - 6 charter school, etc.

This type of decision in a vacuum just lends more support to those that believe Ed Brand is a corrupt, tyrant of a Supt who only thinks of what is best for him and not for students, parents, teachers or the community


anniej Jan. 24, 2013 @ 5:02 p.m.

Bvagency: your words ring true, as usual.

Surely there is more to the contract than we are seeing. Many are of the opinion that Brand does NOTHING unless there is something in it for him, that is the key what is in it for him?

The board members, no doubt, were hood winked with this contract. Why Ricasa is not jumping up and down in opposition is a topic of much concern, she is after all an employee at Southwestern - counselor I believe.

Board members have you called to Thank Brand for this controversy? You are the ones who have to answer to the community, not him.

My youngest daughter attended college out of the city, when she attempted to transfer to San Diego State she learned some of the units she had already taken, at a California State College were not transferable. Can we only imagine the money that will be wasted by some of our parents when they too learn the courses their child took under the umbrella at Sweetwater U can not be transferred.

What ever happened to separation of church and state. This contract that Brand signed is now going to lead us into court, it appears we are going to be sued.

The Federal monies we receive, no doubt they will become a source of interest when they stop. Separation of church and state will prevent Federal funds.

Why are we, the community continually having to expose Brands hair brained schemes? Why didn't John McCann stop Brand in his tracks, surely he knows the law on this issue.

WHO IS RUNNING THIS DISTRICT? Is it the officials we voted for or is it Brand? If our board has turned over all decision making authority to Brand the. Why are we paying them each their 800 hundred plus stipen plus benefits?


anniej Jan. 24, 2013 @ 5:24 p.m.


It would be in the best interest of all to read this article.

Upon completion you will realize WE ARE BELL , CALIFORNIA

Write the State Auditor and demand answers. Attach copies of news articles, attach copies of Brands failed bank. Attach copies of the corporation paper work for T & E - the T is Tom Hassey and the E is Ed Brand.

Want to hear something funny, T & E is a consulting firm. AND THEY ALLEGEDLY SOLD THEIR SERVICES TO THE FAIKED BANK THAT HASSEY AND BRAND WERE PARTNERS IN? Who is Tom Hassey? Well, he is listed as a part time teacher, yet Hassey has announced that he is the new Chief of Staff. Partners with Brand in a bank, allegedly Hassey and Brand lent money to Cartmills business which was allegedly in bankruptcy, now Hassey and Brand are consulting partners. What else?

Isn't that what is happening here? Brand is selling his services to we the taxpayers, and our district is failing financially.

Now ask yourself this, why does anniej know this and our board does not? Why are we concerned about the financial future of our district and our board is not?


bvagency Jan. 25, 2013 @ 7:32 a.m.

So those that attended the meeting last night, what did you think? I have to admit, i like the idea that accelerated/advanced students can take college courses and get a head start on their freshman year. Just think, your child entering their Freshman year of college with credits towards their gen ed requirements done.

Maria Castilleja was the district spokesperson, apparently Ed Brand had some Chinese delegation thing going on so he was not available. She says she called SDSU and UCSD and they said they would accept the courses offered by Grand Canyon U if transferred.

The Grand Canyon U rep said it has regional accredidation similar to all other Arizona universities (NCASP). He nor the district would comment on the lawsuit filed by the federal govt nor on the Frontline story. We were referred to their PRRep. GCU apparently has a similar partnership with the San Juan Capistrano School District.

Imagine this Sweetwater U idea - our kids having an option of various trade schools, Universities, JC 's, and vocational schools, to attend at discounted rates. College courses would transfer, arrangements would be made with employers for internships and jobs for our students. We are in utopia here at SUHSD with pink unicorns!! Actually, in theory its a great idea.

However, many questions exist, like why GCU? What is the connection to Ed Brand? What financial incentive, if any, is the district and/or Ed Brand, receiving? We were told privately that the district had a committee that Brand put together, and they selected GCU. Were any teachers, students or parents on this committee? Why not?

Bertha Lopez attended the meeting, and she knew nothing about this committee or this University, why not? She's a trustee!!

Although a great idea, too many unanswered questions remain. Transparency by Ed Brand would surely help! For the sake of my 3children, i hope this idea is developed and their are options available other than GCU!!


eastlaker Jan. 25, 2013 @ 10:51 a.m.

My head is spinning.

So Ed Brand hasn't given up his wheeling and dealing with the Chinese...remember, he was going to set up a program so that students from mainland China could attend high school in Sweetwater schools--and they would pay for it. Except, there is the problem that public schools in California can't accept that type of payment from students.

I seriously wonder what type of end-around Brand is planning this time. Wheels within wheels. Too bad there are so many broken cogs in Brand's cogitations--.

But, I digress.

Bertha has been kept out of the loop.

We don't know who was on the committee that recommended this. (Special friends of Ed Brand, no doubt).

Once again, Sweetwater's "leadership" creates havoc, wastes precious time and money and messes with the minds of the community. Do we need this? No.

It is time for Ed Brand and his brand of excessive dysfunction to be removed from having any public power and/or influence. The man is a menace. And those who go along with him are no better.


anniej Jan. 25, 2013 @ 1:18 p.m.

Eastlaker: thank you for reminding us of that little, I mean big white lie.


justateacher Jan. 25, 2013 @ 6:54 p.m.

Remember, kids in Sweetwater have been able to take college classes adn get those credits for decades through SWC. And it's FREE and ACCREDITED!


anniej Jan. 25, 2013 @ 9:15 a.m.

Bvagency: education is education, as long as it is a quality education. Having said that it was indeed a concern that the rep from GCU had NO data to hand out or speak of regarding the success rate of their high school offerings. Kind of like buying a car asking for information on mph and being told you have to call our corporate offices for that.

I continue to be bothered about the federal lawsuit against GCU, largest of its kind, the KPBS special seemed to indicate "sign at your own risk" and then there is the pending lawsuit. Why would Brand put the taxpayers at risk? Perhaps he signed on the dotted line without thinking this thru - but again this is not Brands community, so it matters little to him.

A point I would like to make is this - we the taxpayers pay the bills - YES even those that have no children attending SUHSD. So let me be clear, this is our community, these are the schools that our tax dollars built so tread carefully when asking us to butt out. Until the day we die, we will be paying for theses schools AND the education taught within the walls of those buildings.

"calsa" corporate partnerships - was this a brokered deal? If so who profited from the deal?


confuzled Jan. 25, 2013 @ 9:27 a.m.

bvagency - grand canyon is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accrediter. i don't follow your questioning of accreditation.

their nursing school has a near 100% pass rate on the NCLEX exam. most state schools can't even come close.


anniej Jan. 25, 2013 @ 12:42 p.m.

Confused: when asked for data that would support the success rate of high school students taking the grand canyon on line courses - "I am sorry but we do not have any supporting data".

No doubt parents would like to see proof that would indicate this is a successful program before pulling out their Visa card, wouldn't you agree?

Google - casal Grand Canyon University


gobigal Jan. 28, 2013 @ 9:41 p.m.

Watch the Frontline Video College Inc. The parent company of Grand Canyon University has a method by which they buy struggling private colleges that HAVE accreditation and then flip them into for-profit institutions. The owner actually said an accreditation is worth 10 years of development and 10 million dollars to a for-profit college. So while this may be benign, think about the fact that CGU will now have free access to the contact information for these kids who enroll for one class. The Sweetwater rate is a reasonable $285 a course- but the real rate is $500 a unit, with all courses a minimum of 4 credits- so GCU will have a funnel to recruit our kids into a hugely debt-fueled future.

And of course I am not even mentioning the rigor and relevance (Maria's mandate) of a course that can be completed online in only 7 weeks. If you think college is just accumulating credits- sign up. If you value learning- look for a better online program. SWC has online classes, taught by real professors.


oskidoll Jan. 25, 2013 @ 10:06 a.m.

FYI, our local high school students may attend Southwestern College to accumulate college credits while still in high school, and they pay NOTHING. All they need to do that is to have a high school counselor and parent(s) sign off on the co-enrollment paperwork.

Be advised that only a handful of GCU programs/majors are accredited. While those may transfer, why pay a premium to accrue credits that MAY NOT transfer.

Further, Sweetwater District has NO LEGAL BUSINESS in using District resources ($$) to partner or promote (even with a website posting) a religious insititution regardless of what bells and whistles that institution might profer precisely because such a relationship clearly violates our right to separation of Church and State.


dbdriver Jan. 25, 2013 @ 10:27 a.m.

timtim - A good possibility as to why Bertha knew nothing about this could be that nobody is sending her any information. Whenever I hear her state that she knows nothing about an issue, nobody seems to jump up and say "Hey, I sent you emails regarding this." Communication is a key that somehow goes awry in this district.

And yes, this is just a choice, it is not required for students to use. However, does this choice, aligning our district with a christian based college, open the district up for litigation? While Brand, so far, has not had any charges levied on him, he seems to make choices that end up costing the district more in the long run.


oskidoll Jan. 25, 2013 @ 11:19 a.m.

FYI, Pearl's indictment for extortion certainly trumps the lesser (albeit still important) other charges. Sandoval, Ricasa, Gandara are also in the elite 'extortion' club.

Quinones, Sandoval, Ricasa and Gandara did not merely allow themselves to be bribed and then lie about it (thus, the perjury charges), they actually ASKED for things of value while trading on their elected status.

Not splitting hairs here, but I do think that extortion under official color (of office) charges tell us who are the worst of the lot.

They all need lots of deodorant.


dbdriver Jan. 25, 2013 @ 11:45 a.m.

If a board member is not being given necessary information to do their job, how can they effectively perform their job. Before we can determine whether someone is "playing dumb", we must be able to ascertain whether they are being given all the details before we can judge their performance.

While I do not recall ever fanatically putting my support behind Mrs. Lopez, I believe I have once mentioned the little fact that she was one who went to the DA to report wrong doings in our district. While that does not entirely absolve her in any wrongdoing she had participated in, that does kind of raise her status over Pearl and the others. She realized that those actions were wrong and set about amending the situation. The others have yet to come to the realization that what they did was wrong in any manner.

Wow. Seriously? Only four or five posters with mutliple id's? With different writing styles and everything. Wow. Hmm, I wonder...maybe there is only one of us on this site entirely. Maybe instead of timtim being McCann or Grossman or The Easter Bunny, MAYBE timtim is actually anniej arguing with herself. Great Job Anniej. You had me fooled.


eastlaker Jan. 25, 2013 @ 11:47 a.m.

Just want to point out that in the U-T's new format, there is no longer a category under "news" for Education--that I could find, anyway. If I somehow missed it, please let me know.

If I am correct, then I would have to conclude that the U-T's interest in covering educational issues has decreased markedly.

What is going on here in San Diego? Another post brought up the question of how much--or little--coverage the Star-News is giving all of the Sweetwater madness. I would have to say they are covering it very minimally. Tip-toeing around certain points.

It is getting more and more difficult to find news outlets and entities that really want to keep the public informed. We are greatful to the Reader.


eastlaker Jan. 25, 2013 @ 5:46 p.m.

No, actually, it might be a sign that the DA is not playing favorites, and wants the investigation to be considered complete, thorough and above reproach. A worthy goal. And maybe there is "more to come". One can always hope that the cleanup will reach all the dark corners of the district.


Jmbrickley Jan. 26, 2013 @ 10:13 a.m.

Numerous print sources have labeled her "an early whistleblower."


anniej Jan. 25, 2013 @ 12:53 p.m.

Dbdriver: Surely you jest. I have no need for multiple id's. my style, my words, my sarcasm, my humor - it is all anniej....,,,,,,,,,,,,

The issues at hand far too important to trivialize by pretending to be the village idiot.


anniej Jan. 25, 2013 @ 1:04 p.m.

Db: you are correct, Ms. Lopez did go to DA.

Question is, why didn't John McCann?????????? Didn't he stand in all of those living rooms and promise to clean up the district, promise to bring about change? It would appear he left those living rooms and then met with SGI and BUNTON architects and asked for some pretty steep campaign contributions.

Guess he decided rather than "lick 'em" he decided to "join 'em"


anniej Jan. 25, 2013 @ 1:11 p.m.

Eastlaker: educational news has been replaced with 'watchdog SUHSD' and new Craigslists category GREASE MY PALM


dbdriver Jan. 25, 2013 @ 1:12 p.m.

Hmmm, let me think about this for a moment...

Bertha, "Hey, y'all, I went to the DA to report on wrongdoings in our district."

DA, "Um, like, no she didn't. Liar,liar, pants on fire!." (True story)(Really happened)(Yeah, right)

Since I haven't seen that plastered all over the news, I'm just going to stand over here on the side of "Tending to believe Bertha on this matter."

I'm not saying she is golden, and didn't do anything wrong. I am going to wait and see. And if Pearl and Arlie and all the others are found to be not guilty, I'm pretty sure Bertha's 19 indictments will go away as well.

As for her house, why not "raid" it. It was probably a good source of material to see the extent of her involvement. Not just her 19 indictments, but others as well. I do seem to remember they didn't charge her immediately after the raid like Pearl and Arlie.

I'm going to wait to see how this all plays out in court, instead of looking to judge the group.


anniej Jan. 25, 2013 @ 1:37 p.m.

ALL - somewhere along the line word got out that serving as a board member would be a key to the reality show "show me the money". Whatever happened to holding office purely with the intent to serve the people? When did it become all about "I take care of those who take care of me"?

When did it become ok for a school board member to attempt to ruin a constituent via a protective order FUNDED WITH TAXPAYERS MONIES?

What part of integrity equates to a superintendent quitting his position and this fact is HIDDEN FROM THE COMMUNITY? until said super is handed a revoltingly rich contract?

At one point in educational government did it become ok for supers to name part time teachers as Chief of Staff? The same part time teacher who had allegedly partnered with the super in a failed bank. The same part time teach and super who had allegedly formed a corporation offering consultant services? The same super and part time teacher who allegedly was part of a bankruptcy bail out for one of the board members.

These situations are at the foundation of mistrust within the community, these and MANY MORE!


bvagency Jan. 25, 2013 @ 2:13 p.m.

Again, i think this is a very good idea that can benefit our students. Yes we dont have to send our kids to GCU, and as long as other choices are available im ok with it.

I still have concerns over why and how GCU was selected, considering the Fed govt lawsuit, them being a for profit religious school, and the Frontline story, and the fact that at least 1 trustee was kept out of the loop. Knowing how Brand operates, i bet only 1 or 2 trustees knew details about this partnership, and he probably left the rest out of the loop.

Again who from the district benefitted from this? If this idea of Sweetwater U does not cost the district and taxpayers money, and their is no quid pro quo with certain district leadership or trustees, then it can be a benefit to our students. Unfortunately, our district does not have the best track record with transparency and honesty, so these type of decisions that are dumped on us smell fishy!


eastlaker Jan. 25, 2013 @ 5:49 p.m.

The fact that some members of the board are less than articulate makes me wonder why they were put forward as candidates in the first place. We need candidates who actually have the power of reason, who know right from wrong and choose to act accordingly (do I actually have to state, "choosing right"?--maybe I do with this bunch), and will stand up against the major lunacy that Brand spouts nearly continually. Hmmm. Where can we find these people?


DinDinMagee Jan. 25, 2013 @ 6:19 p.m.

I am glad to see someone asked to see data with regard to GCU. I am wondering if anyone has seen any data with regard to the Compact for Success. as I recall, weren't students guaranteed jobs as teachers when they graduated? There should be data coming out in June with regard to the iPads and their success in the classroom learning environment. The reason I would like to see this data is to determine if these programs are successful, or a waste of tax dollars. The Board and Supt. Should be asking for this data before moving forward.


eastlaker Jan. 25, 2013 @ 7:36 p.m.

Exactly! The public deserves to know what is going on with these programs!


anniej Jan. 25, 2013 @ 9:03 p.m.

DinDinMagee: Brand, well thought out plan? Brand statistical data? Historically he has shown us that he vets NOTHING. - now if it was about money he could make - well he would be able to quote you chapter and verse


Stelladuch166 Jan. 25, 2013 @ 9:22 p.m.

What has happened to this city? My husband and I lived here for close to 30 years all of our kids went to Sweetwater schools in junior and senior high school. I have spent the entire day reading past articles in the Union Tribune and The READER - where are the citizens? How did this happen to a once great school district? It is hard to believe that things could change so drastically. Something has gone terribly wrong some where. Someone at the state or federal level needs to come in here and take over since the people you voted for are doing such a lousy job.


DinDinMagee Jan. 26, 2013 @ 8:31 a.m.

Indeed, my kids are third generation SUHSD graduates. It is very sad to see teachers being slammed, including the District program Learning Centers, slamming programs like this is akin to slamming the students enrolled in them. It seems that the Board and Supt. are doing everything they can except what they need to be doing. Just an outsiders view.


DinDinMagee Jan. 26, 2013 @ 7:57 a.m.

I'm curious perhaps someone could help me understand...with regard to "the union"...when collective bargaining came into being back in the 70's, at some point in time wasn't there a vote to become a "union shop" where everyone belonged to the union or pay a union fee? A teacher is a profession, the union is a profession, a medical doctor is a profession, just like a lawyer is a profession. My point being, a teacher doesn't get to choose who they educate, the union doesn't get to pick who they will represent, same with an MD. As for the lawyer, a person either needs one or not.

I still would think that data should be asked for from the Board of Trustees before any more programs are started. I also would like to see all of the schools that are in program improvement be examined by District Administrators to see how they can collaboratively assist with bringing about achievement. If they are unable to accomplish this, they need to be replaced with people that can, and by the way, I'm just an outsider, a simple taxpayer, that feels there is nothing wrong with public education, just folks at the Board level who need to listen to what is going on instead of blaming "the few". Times have changed, and there needs to be input from all stakeholders, not just the Board, the Supt. and the "chosen" few in a meeting making decisions for all.


anniej Jan. 26, 2013 @ 8:54 a.m.

DinDinMagee: No doubt much more would be accomplished if all partners acted like a team working towards the common goal of providing the best education possible for the students. However at this point the line seems to have drawn in the sand: superintendent Brand, board members John McCann, Jim Cartmill, Pearl Quinones, and Arlie Ricasa, Administrators (aligning with Brand to keep their job) ON ONE SIDE then there are the parents, students, Bertha Lopez (her consistent one vote), taxpayers and teachers on the other.

The indictments should serve as a spotlight that there is something seriously wrong with those charged to represent the community. Other than Bell, Ca can you even recall alleged corruption on this scale?

Our 7 - 12th grade students, the innocents, the voiceless are looking to the adults to offer them what they have always been told to work hard for - a knowledge based education. But Brand appears to have forgotten about them - why? He is chasing greenbacks to fill up wallet. Surely he would never negotiate for free solar or homes?

Political reputations have been destroyed, so many in the South Bay had hopes that John McCann would come in and work towards change, unfortunately they have been forgotten. But he is not the only board member, I tend to focus on him because of the empty promises and let down voters.

Prior to the madness that now defines SUHSD the board members sold themselves as public servants - now wherever they go, whoever they see they are the subject of whispers. For ALL NOW KNOW they have been scandalous in their greed.

No matter what side of the fence one finds themselves, all agree it is time for change. Rather than attempt to fix what is broken, it is time to replace.

This has become a DIY project on steroids, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel thanks to the DA's office, the Grand Jury, and ALL of those who helped to expose SUHSD's dirty little secrets of corruption.


DinDinMagee Jan. 26, 2013 @ 11:03 a.m.

You are absolutely right timtim, everyone, with the exception of John McCann has charges against them. That being said, help me understand how GCU and all the programs (compact, iPads, new charter, etc) are helping student achievement, we (you, me and everyone else) need to see some data, and start focusing on what is to be our future. We need to set the example and model for them. We need to be inclusive with our direction and work together. Will we always agree? Never, however everyone pulling together in one direction will achieve more.


eastlaker Jan. 28, 2013 @ 8:36 a.m.

Time to take your medicine. The 'loose association' hour has ended.


DinDinMagee Jan. 26, 2013 @ 2:44 p.m.

Timtim, tsk tsk. All I am asking for is show me the data. As for the elementary school district charters, this has nothing to do with unions or non-unions, it has everything to do with educating kids. Show me the data of the 7-8 grade charter scores, vs the scores of the 7-8 grade SUHSD middle schools. Instead of concerning yourself with "poaching" of kids, why not both districts collaborate and see what is working and what is not working? The elementary school district is not your enemy, they are educating kids, and their test scores show the data. Where they need to improve and their achievements. I would hope that SUHSD is doing the same. Parents have a choice to send their kids on to the high school district, or keep them at their Charter Schools. No one is luring them. ask the parents why, then make changes that would attract them to SUHSD. Education is not stagnant, and it constantly changes for success. Change is good.

I am fully aware that iPads are here to stay, just as I am aware that blackboards are replaced with whiteboards, replaced with smart boards. just show me the data that this program is working for student achievement.

Show me the data that the Compact for Success is successful, and how many of these students that were guaranteed a job with SUHSD are now teaching?

Show me the test scores of SUHSD new charter, as testing should be coming up very soon.

Show me the data that GCU has been successful in other Districts, and this is a program that will be successful in SUHSD.

Timtim, if you are in a position to do this, I will ignore your very odd comment about black nikes.

I would also like to hear some positive comments about a plan the Board and Supt have to get SUHSD schools out of program improvement.

Thank you.


anniej Jan. 26, 2013 @ 2:56 p.m.

DinDinMagee: thank you for your insight and comprehensible information.

Brands response to the Program Improvement list, and the fact that the majority of our schools are on it "that is no big deal".

Olympian High newest addition. Next year, lets just see what happens with Eastlakes scores - the administration and teachers have worked to get their current scores; any bets on what overcrowding is going to do to all of their hard work? And surely the super would never ever do anything illegal to massage them. Did that only happen under "the gandaras" reign? Hmmmmmmmmm


eastlaker Jan. 26, 2013 @ 11:10 p.m.

Wish we could get Maria C to answer under oath about that. Would make some interesting reading, I'll bet.


Stelladuch166 Jan. 26, 2013 @ 5:25 p.m.

Is this Tim Tim character a joke? I am late to the conversation but find his remarks a bit off center


eastlaker Jan. 26, 2013 @ 11:08 p.m.

Astute of you. There is some thought that timtim is John McCann, or a close associate of McCann's.

And the remarks are, as you say, a bit off center. It does indicate another reason why the Sweetwater board can't get much of anything right. Sad to say.


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